A big key to improving quality and patient care is engaging physicians and nurses. As many healthcare systems begin to implement improvement initiatives, they must ensure their clinicians are supportive and engaged in order to achieve success. Senior-level executives need to understand the challenges their clinical staff are facing in feeling overwhelmed, having too little time, as well as not really understanding new risk-based payment models. Knowing what motivates physicians and nurses to engage (and what doesn’t) ensures process improvements become tangible, sustainable, while at the same time building trust between clinicians and the healthcare organization.
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This article, first published by in July 2016 by hfma, outlines how hospitals can get physicians to understand the financial impact of their clinical decisions and become actively engaged in improving the value of care. Texas Children’s Hospital was successful through recognizing the need for cultural transformation and ensuring quality came first. The organization engaged clinicians with financial data, including educating them on key financial principles, linking quality improvement training with financial accountability, and accompanying financial choices with clinical choices.
The Affordable Care Act has changed the landscape for physicians. They are under pressure to care for patients more effectively and efficiently. However, the significant increase in diagnostic testing and treatments have made it challenging for physicians to decide on an optimal diagnosis and treatment plan. Meaningful, actionable data to measure the effectiveness of these treatments has only recently become available, delaying the adoption and use of analytics among physicians. Integration and use analytics in medical practices is critical to improve outcomes, shorten the timeline for translating best practices into clinical practice, and ultimately improve the overall health of individual and populations of patients.
For healthcare organizations to be successful with their quality and cost improvement initiatives, physicians must be engaged with the proposed changes. But many physicians are not engaged because their morale is suffering. While some strategies to encourage buy-in for improvement initiatives don’t work, there are six strategies that have proven to be effective: (1) discover a common purpose, (2) adopt an engaging style, (3) turn physicians into partners, not customers, (4) segment the engagement plan, (5) use “engaging” improvement methods, and (6) provide them with backup—all the way to the board. Once the organization has their trust, physicians will gain enthusiasm to move forward with improvement efforts that will benefit everyone.
Have you ever had one of those "wake up moments" where you literally learn a lesson that impacts and changes the trajectory of your life? Read this personal story by Dr. Bryan Oshiro of his "wake up" call where he learned the importance of data to save lives. He learned this first-hand when he saw rows of babies on ventilators in the neonatal unit and realized that they had all been electively delivered before 39 weeks. But he didn’t have the data compiled to make a compelling case to his physicians to stop elective pre-39 week deliveries. Working with his technology team, he gathered the data, analyzed it, and successfully engaged his physician team in a quality improvement project to reduce these elective deliveries.
Starting a clinical quality improvement initiative requires shifting from a personality-centric culture to one that is data-driven, with near real-time data to help providers make better decisions and improve the quality of outcomes. But turning plentiful data into meaningful information represents a significant change. From Dr. J. Kevin Croston, MD, CMO at North Memorial Health Care, here are seven tips to gaining physician buy-in: 1. Get the Physicians Engaged Early; 2. Find Champions Among the Medical Leadership; 3. If Your Project Is Large, Choose One Area of Focus; 4. Build a Broad but Specific Guidance Team; 5. One You Have Plan, Follow It; 6. Make the Results Data-driven; 7. Be an Agent for Change